November is National Adoption Month, and that means something very special in my family. My beautiful, creative, talented, funny, and compassionate daughter is adopted. Her birthday is, of course, a day we celebrate, but November 21st is a day that is equally near and dear to our hearts. That is what we have always called “Family Day”. That is the day God saw fit to allow her dad and I to be her parents. That is the day our little family was formed.
Divorce has not stopped us from celebrating Family Day. We have kept that as a time to remind her that the two of us will always be here for her. Family Day celebrations have been spent in a variety of ways over the years: putt-putt golf and lunch; theme park for the day; sushi dinner after work/school; visit to museums, and everything in between. Regardless of the activity, there is always lots of laughter and she enjoys the time spent with both of us. She especially likes to hear our stories from the day we brought her home. Our daughter looks forward to Family Day, and so do we. In the early years I was typically the one who set the plans. Now, she actively takes part in determining how we celebrate!
It was never a thought of mine that I would not be able to have children. When the realization of that hit, it was hard to accept. As a woman I thought it was a given that I would be able to bear children. Apparently, that’s one of the many things we can take for granted in life.
Once the decision to adopt was made, we started preparing for our child. There were so many decisions to make: which agency to use; do we want a boy; do we want a girl; do we have to have a newborn or can the baby be a little older; and of course, what should we name him/her. So much of this compares to the traditional process when expecting the birth of a child: which doctor/hospital to use; will the baby be a boy or a girl; what should the baby be named.
And then there is the part that compares to nothing that takes place in the traditional process: home studies/visits by the agency; interviews of your friends/family; review of your finances; will it be an open or closed adoption (to know or not know the biological mother/father). All of this made the process feel cold and impersonal. Yet I would do it all over again without question!
Although I did not carry my daughter in my womb for 9 months we certainly experienced some painful stretching of our own. There were some sleepless nights and frustration in the adoption process. The agency we started with did not seem to have our best interest as their focus. It wasn’t until we reached the third case worker assigned to us that things began to happen!
And then came November 21, 1997. I will never forget that day or the details of it. I will remember the day with joy, just as a mother who birthed a child remembers the day her child was born.
I grew as a person and as a woman through the beautiful experience called adoption. I realized that:
All I wanted was to be a mother. In the end, it didn’t matter how that came to be. I have loved my daughter, nurtured her, been proud of her, been frustrated with her, praised her, and raised her just as if she came from my womb. When her heart hurts, mine does too. She is my daughter and I am her mother…forever.
Family is what’s in your heart, not what’s in your blood. When our hearts are pure and full of love, it’s easy to pour that love into any child, whether biological or not.
God’s plan for our lives is so much greater than what we can imagine. She was meant to be our child. Over the years it has been amazing to see so much of us in her. Granted, some of the similarities may be because she was nurtured by us. However, there are some aspects of our daughter, the core of who she is, that typically could only have come through nature/DNA, yet they are like her dad, me, and other members of our families. God does all things well!
If you are wondering if adoption could be right for you and your family I would highly recommend exploring it as an option. My life’s story was not going to be complete without her, nor was hers to be complete without us. I thank God for our story that began on November 21, 1997.